How to Plan a Road Trip

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Anthony Rousseau

Traveling is a fun way for many people to see and experience new things, as well as create memorable adventures with friends and family. However, according to, going on a road trip can be very expensive and even dangerous if the proper preparations are not made. Many important factors such as stops, destinations, and points of interest determine the cost of the road trip. Where in the country you want to go, the path you want to take, your budget, and the method of travel are all factors that should all be considered. All of these things are the main first steps when designing the plans for a fun and enjoyable road trip.

When planning a road trip, the amount of time that is available is one of the first things that should be considered. If there are only a few days of free time, a trip like that would greatly vary from a trip that will last multiple weeks. The amount of available time can be used to determine the distance that can be traveled and an approximate budget based on this information.

Another important factor to consider is the attractions and sites that will be visited. Across the country, there are various points of interest, and depending on your goals for the road trip, a detailed plan should be made so gas is saved, time is saved, and costs can be cut. According to, many of the popular sites include national parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Zion. Round trips should be planned with a lot of detail so that arrival at hotels or campsites, as well as the points of interest, can be during the right time of day. Extra time should also be added for unplanned bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, or even mechanical failures with your method of transportation. According to, not having a plan “is one of the top ways people end up overspending.” 

The next step when planning a road trip is determining the budget. Depending on the chosen budget a different method of travel should be chosen because some vehicles are more expensive than others. On top of that, the distance of the road trip will vary. Due to rises in gas prices, road trips may have to be shorter than before because of budget constraints. Deciding whether not to stay in a hotel or at a campsite can also be a product of your budget. Campsites are usually cheaper than hotels, but some things must be sacrificed such as a room of your own and a bathroom of your own. According to, fancy hotels and unnecessarily expensive stops will throw off your budget when more modest hotels and sticking to the planned route could save lots of money. If the budget is strict and changes can not be made, advises sticking as closely as you can to the planned route, and impulsive stops at random attractions could throw off your budget.

Now that you have a budget and a plan, the method of travel should be considered. There are many different ways of traveling, and a different type of transportation could be right for you. For example, an RV could be a better choice for you than a car. Zachary Diamond is an avid traveler and has rented an RV with his family before. According to Zach Diamond, “The sleeping quarters are tight and confined, but it is an effective way of travel if you are trying to make many quick stops.” RVs offer living quarters for an entire family and a vehicle in one. This allows for savings on hotel rooms as long as you get a spot on a campsite. However, one downside of RVs is the cost of gas. According to, most RV’s gas tanks range from 80 to 100 gallons. This means with the current price of gas, a full fill would cost around 320 to 400 dollars assuming that gas costs $4.00 per gallon. With the current cost of gas, taking a fuel-efficient vehicle with enough space for all passengers and luggage could be a just as effective plan. If taking your vehicle is part of the plan it is always a good idea to research simple mechanical fixes like tire changes and basic maintenance. This research could save you money and time during the road trip. Another option is always to rent a car. Depending on where you rent from and what you rent these vehicles can be relatively cheap, and come with repairs and replacement vehicles built in if something does happen. 

While many factors determine how successful a road trip will be, planning it properly is a sure way to make your journey cheaper and more enjoyable. It is always important to research the destination, route and stops along the way so preparations can be made for a variety of outcomes.